Salt Creek Beach is in Dana Point, north of the harbor and south of Laguna Beach. It's a long and sandy beach that is very popular with surfers. There are changing rooms, restrooms, outdoor showers, a snack bar, and firepits.
There is also a large grassy park called Bluff Park, which has picnic tables, restrooms and BBQ grills. Stairs lead to the beach below.
Conveniently, there is a large parking lot with pay machines. It costs about a dollar an hour. But the path down to the beach (between the Ritz Carlton Dana Point and Bluff Park) is long and you will have an uphill walk back to your car. You can get here from Ritz Carlton Drive off of Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1).
At the bottom, with the beach spread out before you, there's a steep path to the left that takes you up to the Ritz Carlton's bluff top path, and you can walk through the hotel's picturesque grounds with fabulous coastal views.
There are benches from which you can gaze at the sea and if you're lucky, you may see some gray whales migrating at certain times of year. On a clear day you can even see Catalina Island.
North of Bluff park, the multi use trail goes along the coast, with steps or paths down to the beach.
The southern entrance to Salt Creek Beach Park is off of Selva Road. There is a large, free parking lot there. This is also called Strands Park. There is a walkway with cement picnic tables along the bluff, overlooking the ocean. At the far southern end, a long, winding path goes down to Strands Beach below.
At the far north end there are restrooms, and a funicular elevator takes people up and down to the beach for those who don't want to brave the long stairway.
On the beach here, there are tide pools and sand. Dana Headlands can be seen off to the left, facing the sea.